Have you ever gone into a summer break thinking "Okay, now I will finally have time to relax and work on things I want to and need to get done that I didn't have time for during the semester. I'm not going to waste this time, not this summer," and then you end up wasting most of your time? Every summer? Me too. Well, not this time. I am in the middle of the busiest summer of my life with work, preparing for my post-graduation ambitions, an internship, wedding planning, and trying to take a little time to enjoy my days away from school, so here are eleven ways we can make the most of our summer.

Get Up Early

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Actually set an alarm and get up when it goes off, or at least only hit snooze once or twice. While it's hard to get out of bed, especially in the summer, I have found that the morning hours are some of my most productive. Also, if you get your work done in the morning, you have the afternoon and evening to do whatever you want!

Eat a Good Breakfast

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Eat something that tastes good and will give you energy for the rest of your day. Planning a good breakfast ahead of time also works as a good incentive to get out of bed!

Make a To-Do List

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If you write out what you need to get done during the day, you're much more likely to actually accomplish it. It's also quite satisfying to check off what you've finished.

Make and Follow a Daily Schedule

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This may seem a little over the top, but it really helps me to stay on track. If I write out what times I have to work, and then schedule times to focus on other obligations, it helps me to manage my time more effectively and stay focused on what I am doing at the moment.

Exercise

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I'm really bad about actually sticking to this one. I started the summer off right and worked out every day, but then I got lazy. The rest of the summer, though, I'm setting a goal to work out at least three times a week. Exercising helps you feel better; it makes you feel more energetic, and accomplishing something difficult is always a confidence boost. It's just one more little item to add to that schedule!

Use Down-Time to do Small Tasks

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While you're watching TV , you can do things like fold your laundry, send emails, write out your lists or schedule for the next day, organize documents, or scour the Internet for floral centerpieces or other reception decoration ideas (I did that ALL THE TIME). That way you're relaxing your mind, while still crushing that to-do list.

Take a Quick Afternoon Nap (If You Really Need It)

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I have to go to work early in the morning, and I don't do a great job of getting to bed at a decent time, so by the time I get off most afternoons, I'm wiped out. Rather than just trying to push through and work on other tasks, sometimes it's more beneficial to take a quick power nap, and then get back to it.

Have a Friend Keep You Accountable

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Tell a SUPPORTIVE friend about your summer goals, and have them ask you occasionally how things are going. Even better, you can both set similar goals, and work on them together.

Keep Resume-Building in Mind

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Summer is a great time for internships, volunteering, working, and finding other ways to build your resume and gain experiences to make yourself more marketable in the future.

Spend Time Doing Things that Energize You

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If going for a run energizes you, get out there and do it. If hanging out with friends boosts your energy, make time to do that. If you prefer alone time, and sitting in your room with a good book does it for you, go for it. Whatever makes you feel good and happy, make sure to take some time during the week to do it.

Make Sure You Do Take Some Time to Relax

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While the goal here is to be productive and not waste the days off from classes, it is important to take time to truly relax. Schedule one day a week, an hour or two, a day, or whatever time frame works for you, to just unwind and enjoy some down time. It is summer, after all!